World Cup 2014: Looking Forward
There are 42 days until the World Cup, and I honestly can’t contain my excitement. If you read any of my articles during UCI’s men’s soccer season early on this year, you would know how in love I am with this brilliant sport we call soccer. To me, soccer is a beautiful art, a form of expression that combines mind, body and soul to create a 90 minute production. On a field.
If you’re a fan, there’s nothing more thrilling than watching your team perform. Their athleticism, heart, talent, emotion, celebrations, teamwork and faith are just a few of the many elements that come together to inspire you, to make you believe, and to make you fall in love with the game more than you thought imaginable.
The World Cup combines all those feels and so many more. For one month every four years, the World Cup unifies all the people of the world for a mutual love, devotion, and respect toward the most incredible tournament on Earth. Sure, people are divided amongst their countries and their teams, but the bottom line is that it is all for the love of soccer. Wherever you are in the world, no matter what time it is, at some point, you and millions of others world-wide are watching the same thing. Having the ability to connect so many different people, globally, only shows what magic this game is capable of.
In my spirit and excitement for the World Cup whose countdown I’ve had going since Andrés Iniesta scored the winning goal in overtime against the Netherlands four years ago, I’ve put together the top five reason why the World Cup is worth watching.
- The Host
World Cup 2014 is being hosted by Brazil; the land with golden soil from which soccer phenomenal players ultimately emerge from. I’ve never been to Brazil, but from what I’ve read and from what my parents have told me, it’s a beautiful country with breathtaking scenery, rich culture, fantastic food, and most significantly, a magical place where the essence of soccer fills the air. After all, Pelé, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, and Neymar Jr. All hail from Brazil.
- The Players
I’m truly fascinated by the skill of professional soccer players. It’s a sport that requires full-body fitness; endurance to last competing for 90 minutes, upper body strength to fight for the ball and, importantly, strong and powerful legs because all in all, soccer is a sport that’s based on footwork. It’s the survival of the fittest. Soccer is also requires intelligence and strong decision making skills; being able to decide instantly when and where to shoot, who and how to fake, and how to convince the referee that the foul they just got carded for was uncalled for. The World Cup brings together athletes from around the world that uphold these qualities, which makes for some pretty fantastic close ups. What I mean by this, is that the World Cup brings to the viewer hundreds of the fittest and best-looking players in the World. On that note, I leave you with two names, Gerard Pique and Chritinao Ronaldo.
- The Commentary
ESPN announced in January that the very English Ian Darke will be replacing Martin Tyler, (who had been called every World Cup since 1978) as the World Cup’s head commentator. According to ESPN, the former Sky Sports commentator will broadcast the June 12 opener between Brazil and Croatia, all of USA’s matches, and the Cup’s final on July 13. Darke stars in a recent ESPN World Cup commercial doing a play-by-play rundown of a date; an absolutely entertaining, must-watch promo.
- World Cup Parties
The World Cup means getting together with family and friends for an incredible time watching an incredible game. Soccer themed parties are fantastic and an awesome way to show your team sprit! But you don’t need to host your own party to have a good time. I watched the Spain vs. Netherlands final at a sports restaurant in Wellington, Florida. Let me just say that the number of World Cup fans in Wellington, FL is near to none. I watched the Italy vs. France final in 2006 on a small, square TV with incredibly long antennae coming out of it with over 20 people surrounded in the woods while at summer camp. The point of this is that home is where your soccer is, because the beauty of soccer is that there’s more to it than just the game.
- The Unexpectedness
Soccer is unpredictable. The good or the bad, when something happens that’s unanticipated, your emotions feel like they’re being toyed with. For example, when Iniesta scored the World Cup winning goal four minutes to overtime, or when Zinedine Zidance head-butted Italy’s Matertzi, or every time Messi touches the ball, how can one contain themselves? With the coming games, we’re left with questions like, “Who will be victorious?”, “Will Neymar actually perform to his multi-million dollar worth on his home soil?”, “How will the U.S. perform, having been drawn into the “Group of Death” with Germany, Ghana, and Portugal?”, “What vicious stunt will Balotelli pull?” And let’s be honest, we’re all trying to recover from the fact that Gareth Bale isn’t participating in the World Cup because he plays for Wales, and that Pitbull is the lead singer for the opening.
There’s so much to look forward to and so much to discover. So brace yourselves, FIFA World Cup 2014 is coming.